Sex toys really have come along way since the time of the Ancient Eygpt but they have undergone many changes to become the discreet (or perhaps not so discreet) fun time friend that lives in your bed side locker.
The oldest sex toy on recorded was found in 2005 in a cave near the Swabian Alps. A phallus carved from stone, the archaeologists have estimated that it is 28,000 years old proving that since the beginning of mankind we have been looking for ways to pleasure ourselves.
Both ancient Greece and Rome are no strangers to having various sexual objects excavated from different sites, famously including dildos made from bread that were used by both men and women. Ben-wa balls were first documented in Japan circa 500AD before they made their way to China and then to the Western World.
By the time the Dark Ages rolled around (5th century - 15th century), the church was the governing power and used said power to repress and dictate people's sexuality, so the use of sex toys would have been prohibited though chances are people were still finding ways to play in secret. France still used dildos as did Italy, calling them “dilettoes” which means pleasure. This just reinforces the idea that the exploration of sexuality and pleasure has always been part of humanity.
We move onto the 19th century and the role of female sex toys has taken a very strange turn. Instead of being used as objects of pleasure they became instruments in so called “medical treatment”.First patented in 1869 by George Taylor it was a dildo attached to a steam powered engine. Now it should be noted that it wasn’t designed with the female orgasm in mind (not everyone believed that the female orgasm existed!) but to treat “female hysteria” - which symptoms were both wide ranging and varied. Anxiety, insomnia, loss of appetite, too much appetite…… all of which was treated (somehow) by the massaging of the genitals……
Many women “diagnosed” with hysteria were women who were just expressing normal and healthy sexual appetites.
Fast forward to the beginning of the 20th century when vibrators stopped being used to fix “women ailments” and instead were sold commercially as beauty products. They started as hand cranked vibrators that only became electrical in the 1920s. They were advertised as machines to relieve neck and back pain or to help the blood circulation of the face, but considering most came with textured add-ons what they were actually used for is rather obvious.
The Hitachi Wand burst onto the scene in the 1970s, starting life as a back massager but it was one of the first toys to make it to the mainstream advertised just as a sex toy!
The ever trusty Rabbit went on the market in the 1980s and they just have been improving ever since. They know vibrate, oscillate, pulsate, thrust, recharge, have hundreds of different settings, can be used internally, externally, in the shower and probably atop Mount Everest if one feels so inclined……
We definitely have COME a long way since live bees wrapped up in linen.